Week #575, #576, #577

Friday, March 4th, 02022 at 11:11 UTC

Week #575

On tuesday, we sent our second edition of the ⪮ Good Morning newsletter. You can read s01e02 online. 🧐

An older client hit some snags this week with something we built for them a long time ago. It is a CSV exporter for their data. We tested it when the project first started, but now a few years in they are using it for the first time. The data is too big, causing the server to time-out and fail. It’s not a big deal, we turn that process into a background task, cache it in the database and send an email when it is ready. It’s just a bit annoying that something we built year ago, which was approved, is now our fault even though the situation has changed. The really annoying thing is they also are complaining about some calculations in a table we’ve been sending out for a few years now via email. Sure, if the numbers are wrong, we’ll fix it, but if the data is important, they’d have caught the error by now, so the hard work we put into wrangling the data, cleaning it, displaying it and getting into the right hands, has never been used. 😩

For the Hyperion project, we need to turn in a few draft documents, one outlines the design, another the technical aspects. Watching from the chat rooms, the technical document which we wrote a bunch on, has barely been mention, but the design document has been combed over for several days. This is partly due to no one having the expertise to comment on the technical implementations, and/or we could be waiting for an 11th hour crunch on the technical document that everyone wanted to avoid!? 🥺

This was a busy week for our survey company. It turned 12, 🎂🎉 happy birthday, and we were super busy finishing two big surveys and getting ready to start two more. We spent this week mostly putting out small fires as things popped-up here and there. Things are always in flux, we continue to make minor UI changes and functional updates every day. This means one login form isn’t always in sync with another, but given enough time, everything gets updated. We also has a small hiccup with our robocalls. One of the MP3s was not created, so for some customers they got an error. Luckily, when they called our number they got a message explaining what it was about, so it seems to have worked itself out. 😰

We also finished-up and analysed the results from a pilot survey for 5 year olds. We were not optimistic, explained to the client the massive developmental difference between 5 and 6 year olds, but after a year of prep, we did the survey. As we expected, the results are non-existant to weak at best. We’ll move to the academic phase of publishing the results and using that to potentially apply for funding to do further research. No everything was bad news, we learnt a few things. Just by looking at the questions, the ones that loaded highest were short, single concept questions and some of the worst performers were longer, negatively worded, cause and effect questions. 🤓

We’re finishing-up the last HTML design tweaks to a wordpress site for a local company. The hours and budget are very small, so we’re trying to keep it to a minimum, but somehow things that were “forgotten” in the original PDF sketches are rearing their ugly head. Like a navigation and sub-navigation and how that works on mobile and the colors, highlighting, selected states, etc. None of that was spec’ed or designed. And apparently the boss has a HUGE monitor, so the original box design needs to ‘fill his screen’ and still look good and work as is too. (Thank goodness for media queries!) 😤

Its been one of those weeks! 😵‍💫

Week #576

The week started out working on the WordPress template getting ready for launch. Since the target audience is suppose to have 4K monitors, our content area of around 1200px is way too small. Rather than try to show more information on a larger monitor, they just want the regular design bigger so it fills the screen. 🤷🏻‍♂️ Luckily, CSS has the zoom property. With a few media queries, we can increase the design by a set percentage. I makes everything bigger, including text, so issues with reading line lengths are not affected. It would be the same as if you zoomed in our out on the page using the browsers built-in zooming feature. We’ll see how it goes, it’s only a few lines of CSS, so easy to remove if it doesn’t work out.

We published our article about Hot Chocolate Teabags on Tuesday. It was met with crickets. 🦗 Sometimes you write something and it gets passed around unexpectedly, other times you publish and nothing – no clicks or interest! Maybe the timing was off, or just everyone’s mind was elsewhere? 🇺🇦 It is evergreen content. Hopefully, it will be come a reference in the future.

Our parent surveys are finishing-up this week and the response rates are looking very good. While that finishes-up, we are prepping the March staff surveys. The system and questionnaire are in great shape, the stress right now is mostly the collecting of workplace lists. The survey consists of two parts, depending the type of workplace you get part A & B, or just A, or just B. Usually, it’s easy to determine, but there are ALWAYS exceptions. 📋

On Wednesday night we reviewed our updates to the Australian Concreter’s project. We are working with a small company, but news/gossip this week was that the 3rd largest concreting firm, which was publically listed, went under. The official story is that their South African parent company shut it down due to losses and needed their earnings to look better, but there are other rumors circulating! (oh year, were just about on the exact opposite side of the globe and we’ve got the low-down on the ozzie concreting gossip.) 🤐 All the updates are looking good, a few minor fixes before we demo to their team official. Off the back of that meeting, they have another small proposal for an addition to help not only track their team members, but now also some equipment. 🚚

We’ve been filling some of the empty time working on a small iMessage app. Not many people seem to be using Stickers on iMessage, let alone apps! But this is a very niche idea which is part of something bigger. The app portion is not any different than creating a regular app, except the output (in our case) is a flattened image that gets sent to the chat. It is coming along and functional, now we’re going iterating with the client and trying things in situ rather than a mock-up. 🎲

Russia invaded the Ukraine. Which definately took the focus for the later-half the week. 🇺🇦

Week #577

It was the end of the month and time to turn in the receipts for the taxman. We spent a morning gathering everything and paying the bills. We also sent out the February invoices. March 1st was also the last day to file any claims against the old SLF company as it is wound-down. 💰

We also started two large surveys this week. One for the City of Reykjavik to survey parents. Our role is simply data collection. We are using their questions and giving them a CSV/SPSS data dump when it is over. The other survey is our own staff survey. We run this in around 200+ workplaces. It is a core set of questions that we control that allow us to create standardized results and comparison across various workplaces. 📋

We finalized two other smaller projects, one local WordPress template and updates to our Australian concreters project. We’ll tally-up the hours and send invoices for those two projects soon. ✅

We continue with one eye always on the devastation happening in Ukraine. ☢️